As a sort of companion piece to a little article I wrote concerning how I plan to raise my daughter, and lest anyone think I actually know what I am doing or that I in anyway profess to be a better mother than any other hard working female, I have written this: A profound list of all the reasons I’m convinced on a daily (often hourly) basis that I do, in fact, suck at raising another human being.
I wish I could say it has only recently dawned on me that I save all my happy patience for the outside world instead of, at times at least, for my daughter, but I’ve long been aware. In an effort to make a bunch of excuses, I will say I work a demanding, high profile job in a very unpitying work environment that really doesn’t care if I have an eight year old product of my uterus that actually kind of needs to spend time with her mother every now and then.
Yeah, yeah, I know. I chose to have a kid really young, blah, blah, I get it. It doesn’t make my life any easier or me any less cranky after a day of meeting unforgiving deadlines that often require overtime and working from home.
I get up at 5am and I go to bed around 11pm surrounded by a million things I still never got around to doing. Which leaves me with about a teaspoon of patience and understanding left at the end of a long day that I then have to rally in defense of “but why do we have to have chicken again?! I hate chicken!” or “I’m really tired mom, do I have to take a bath?” and often… I fail miserably. I turn into the mom that says things like, “Sweet baby Jesus, honey, if you could just give me like, ten minutes of silence I will buy you ice cream or something.”(I wish this was an exaggeration). I regret it, I hate it, I try not to do it, but inevitably, the tired, impatient Mom Monster rears her ugly head.
Sorry, kiddo, I hope the cookies in your lunch box and the extra time playing MineCraft will allow you to forgive me someday. Mommy’s trying, I promise.
Dear God, I don’t know anyone more forgetful than me (if you’re out there, please reach out so that I might take comfort in your glorious existence. On second thought, you’ll probably forget so I’m just gonna pretend you’re out there for my own mental health).
I just… there are almost no words.
It’s to the point where people just stop expecting me to remember things and have begrudgingly accepted that if they want me to do something, or show up somewhere, they are going to have to remind me… often. I can’t leave the house without forgetting at least four things which I will then return to get on my lunch hour… and promptly forget again. Lists don’t help, because I just forget them. Writing things on white boards or chalk boards (as seems to be the Pinterest trend) doesn’t help because I forget they are there and thereby forget to read them. It’s a vicious, vicious cycle.
This translates about as well as you would expect into my parenting ‘technique’. I have such a fear of forgetting her some place (this happened to me three times as a kid and I was traumatized, for sure) that I’ve never been guilty of that, but I’ve forgotten just about everything else. I’ve forgotten to send her with lunch money more times than I care to admit, I forget about upcoming field trips, award ceremonies, birthday parties (not hers, thank god, just other less important children that I didn’t push out of my vaginal canal). I just… I really suck. My daughter, the sweet little brat that she is, already understands this about her mother and will reminded me repeatedly now, no matter how many times I roll my eyes and says “I know, geeze,” that her class is having a talent show and that she really wants me to come. Smart, smart girl. But just who is raising who here?!
I’m probably setting her up to be a planning freak or something. /sigh
I am a huge believer that a well delivered ‘fuck you’ or ‘you awesome bitch’ can add spice or flavor to any otherwise boring sentence. That being said, I never curse at my child. I am, however, certainly guilty of cursing around her. This typically takes place during phone calls for some reason. It’s like when I answer the phone I think the impressionable child gleefully reading or coloring in the corner can’t hear me because, obviously, I’m in the distant ‘Land of Phone’, where my words cannot be over heard.
Someone somewhere must have had my back because I’ve never heard her say a ‘bad’ word and she’s never (to my knowledge at least) gotten in trouble at school or child care for uttering ‘you saucy bitch, I’m so god damned proud of you,’ to any of her friends. Bless you universe, bless you.
I have never been, nor likely will I ever be, very clean. I’ve made some improvements over time. A very neat ex-roommate of mine physically beat kitchen cleanliness into my head to the point where I now spastically load and unload the dishwasher as though it might prevent some sort of germ ridden apocalypse. But I will never look at a pile of laundry and think ‘man, I really want to put that shit away, in fact, I won’t be able to relax and play video games, or read, unless every shirt is hung or neatly folded.’ I have never had a problem with shoving a pile of clean clothes to one side and sleeping next to it.
You should see my car. Actually you shouldn’t, it looks as though a family of hobos complete with clothing, food, and reading materials, live between my crayon stained seats. I’m embarrassed… but not embarrassed enough to clean it.
Anyway, this doesn’t help me much in trying to teach my daughter how to take care of herself, or at least not end up as big of a slob as her mother. I have became a very unfortunate purveyor of the saying “do as I say, not as I do,” to the point that, if I were to create a version of the Ten Commandments, it would be the very first rule. Yes, superseding ‘do not murder people’ or all that jazz about there being no other god, but you know, GOD (yes, this is a highly literal quotation).
I’m sincerely not at all sure how I want to handle my daughter’s understanding of ‘love’. Well, specifically when it comes to men (or women, if that’s the case). I don’t have a great track record myself, to say the least. I mean, I did after all divorce her father. And honestly, most of the advice I have is kinda… dismal, I guess. Well at least for an eight year old who still likes to play with Barbie’s and stuff. I think society (I’m looking at you Disney) has given us unattainable expectations of love, and men. Books too, for that matter. God damn if I didn’t come out of my adolescence expecting to find the sort of love chronicled in the teen books (fucking Twilight) I read only to discover that some of the notions were pretty much… bullshit. I don’t believe in soul mates, I don’t believe there is one perfect person out there for everyone. I don’t believe in perfection, it is unattainable therefore ridiculous to expect. I’m recently engaged and my fiancé is the last person I would have pictured myself with even three years ago and I am, by far, happier than I have ever been in my life. Period. And I have basically no idea why. Voodoo? Some sort of Hispanic love charm (yes, he is Hispanic which I think gives me the supreme right to make Hispanic jokes). So what does that mean? What do I tell my daughter?
“You’re going to have this idea of what you want your future partner to be, but guess what, people aren’t grocery lists and just because you think you want an entire bag of Milky Way’s doesn’t mean that’s what you need. So get ready for a lot of trial and error and heaps of disappointment.”
Maybe love is one of those things that is just different for everyone, maybe I’m just going to have to watch her suffer a few heart breaks and let her figure out what works for her. Maybe there isn’t a damn thing I can do about who she eventually decides to be romantically involved with (I initially typed out ‘sexually’ but realized ‘sex’ and ‘love’ are not at all the same thing). Or maybe I’ll just beat the shit out of every man (or woman) who makes her cry. Either or.
I’m a nerd, or geek, or dork, or whatever you want to label my proclivity to fantasy novels, movies, books, comics and video games. I love to write. I do it all the time; I have a novel (fantasy of course) that I am in the process of getting published… hopefully. I suck at math, I’m not super active (Yeah, I’m the girl who got engaged and now wants to lose twenty pounds before she gets married, you caught me) and I sort of avoid the outdoors like some people avoid illegal drugs or Miley Cyrus. I’ve made a pretty decent living off of my technical writing abilities (which has zero to do with my History Degree) and my bubbly, awesome personality (sarcasm is another of my ‘hobbies’) but for the most part my past times aren’t the sort that lead to huge amounts of success. I’m totally okay with it, I love my hobbies and myself, and the life I’ve created, but I feel sort of bad my daughter doesn’t have a mom who likes to like, hike, or fish, or do math problems or something. My idea of quality time with her tends to lean toward lying in my bed reading together, subjecting her to the glory of the original Star Wars films, or playing Disney Infinity (yeah, I know, I’m a hypocrite) on her X-Box 360 for a few hours on a Saturday morning.
I didn’t mean to build a future nerd prodigy… it’s just sort of happening. Sorry that I’m not sorry?
Conclusion? I think every parent does their best (I mean, assuming you aren’t reading this in a prison somewhere for you know, abusing your kids or something) and that when it’s all over you just have to comfort yourself with the knowledge that your parents loved you, you loved them, and they totally fucked you up. You just do what you can and kind of cross your fingers at the end of the day in hopes that you both come out of the experience relatively intact.